Night Demon is one of the bands which spearheaded the revival of traditional heavy metal in the US, together with High Spirits and Züül. Their frontman Jarvis Leatherby is a man obsessed by metal, who is not only dedicated to releasing great new music with his band, but also constantly promotes other metal bands from all over the world. We took the occasion to talk to him about Night Demon’s third full-length album, horror movies and whether the full-length album format is already obsolete.
Hello, Jarvis. It’s been almost 6 long years since Darkness Remains. Was the pandemic the only reason for such a long pause until the new album?
-No. We did three world tours on that album, released five 7-inch singles between now and then, and we also released a live album and started a podcast. So we’ve been busier than ever.
Outsider is definitely recognized as a Night Demon album, yet is very different from the two previous ones. I think your way of composing has matured and the songs are now more nuanced and varied. Can you agree with that?
-Yeah, for sure. We just needed to grow as a band, there’s no need to repeat ourselves. We don’t wanna do another album unless we can do something a bit different.
The new album is also more melancholic in a way and features more mid-tempo, almost balladic songs like Beyond The Grave and A Wake. Also, for the first time since The Howling man, you have two songs that are around the 7-minute mark. Was this a conscious decision to take this progressive direction?
-Progressive is definitely the right word. Traditionally, we don’t have long songs as a band and if you look at the longer songs in this record, they take you on a different journey and there’s nothing that is repeated over and over again. They needed to be that long because of that – there were a lot of parts.
A few weeks ago, Charlie Benante and Scott Ian from Anthrax provoked a big debate online, stating that “most people don’t listen to albums anymore” and that maybe the business model will be changed to releasing EPs more often. What do you think of that?
-I think that metalheads still like full length albums, at least the traditional metalhead. We did five singles in 2020 and that well too, so I don’t know – I kind of see it both ways. If a band can make a good enough album and also have the financial backup to release it – then a full album is still a good way to go. But if you can’t write enough good songs for an album, then an EP is probably the best thing to do.
I totally agree with you that traditional metalheads prefer full albums. Maybe it is also linked to the revival of vinyl. People who prefer to buy vinyl, would still prefer full length albums.
You’ve also been an active member of the legendary Cirith Ungol since 2016. How did you join the band and did you have any creative input in the Forever Black comeback album?
-I’ve been friends with the band for a long time and I’ve been telling them there’s interest in the band overseas. They never knew that, because they’ve never been overseas. So, we just reformed the band. As far as Forever Black goes, I tried not to write any songs, but instead be more of an editor and executive producer with arrangements and stuff like that.
I know you are not just a musician but a fan and you are following closely the US metal scene. Can you recommend us some newcomer bands from the past few years?
-Yeah – Haunt is a great band, Traveler, Riot City, Unto Others, Night Cobra, Blood Star – these are presently at the top of my head as my favourites.
The lyrics of Night Demon are also inspired by horror fiction – literature and movies. What are you top 3 all-time horror movies?
–Fright Night is my favourite one, I like the first Nightmare On Elm Street. The Monster Squad is kind of a kid movie that I love and there is another 80s movie called The Stuff, which I think is great.
Do you plan touring Europe any time soon with Outsider?
-We plan to be in Europe the second two weeks of July and then the entire month of September. We will announce the exact dates shortly. I noticed you’re calling from Bulgaria, so I would be happy to come to Bulgaria some time. I guess we can play Sonisphere or something, haha!
Haha! Yeah – “the big 4 of the new wave of trad heavy metal”!
-Or “the next 4”!
Outsider will be out March 17th, on Century Media. You can pre-order it from HERE